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Grain industry says environmental goals could make EU a net grain importer

PARIS, Jun 23 (.) – The European Union’s goals to reduce the environmental impact of intensive agriculture could drastically drop crop production and turn the bloc into a net importer of grains, the group said on Wednesday. the Coceral industry.

Under its “Farm to Table” strategy established last year, the European Commission proposed targets for 2030, including expanding organic production to 25% of farmland from the current 8% and reducing pesticide use. by 50%.

Representatives from the agriculture sector have criticized the targets as unrealistic, echoing divisions over environmental standards that have delayed negotiations on the EU’s next multi-year agricultural subsidy program.

The proposed green targets could reduce the EU’s production of common wheat, the bloc’s main cereal crop, to around 109 million tonnes in 2030 from 128 million expected for this year, Coceral said, citing an intermediate scenario in his analysis.

The EU is a major wheat exporter.

“So we are not (we’re going to be) one of the big exporters anymore, but maybe one of the big importers,” Oliver Balkhausen, Coceral board member and research director at Archer Daniels Midland, said during a presentation.

Environmental targets could also deepen the EU’s dependence on oilseed imports by reducing rapeseed cultivation, leading the bloc to potentially import more than 10 million tonnes of rape a year compared to around 6 million in today, according to Coceral.

The US Department of Agriculture also projected in a study late last year that EU agricultural production would decline and prices would rise due to green targets.

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That perspective, in turn, was criticized for being too pessimistic in an article by the French institute of agronomy Inrae, which said it was necessary to take into account changes in agricultural practices and consumer trends. (https://bit.ly/35NvzW4)

Coceral said the risks of destabilizing agricultural markets and shifting environmental problems to other parts of the world demonstrate that the EU needs a more detailed assessment of the impact of its ecological objectives.

(Report by Gus Trompiz. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)

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